New Car Tax to Demolish Buyers of Newly Built Homes in California

There is a new gas tax the Governor and the Democrats are not talking about.

The groups are concerned about the Vehicle Miles Traveled plan scheduled to take effect Wednesday. That’s when housing construction projects will no longer be assessed a fee by how much traffic congestion they are expected to generate.

Instead, a VMT calculation will be applied. For instance, if a person drives to multiple places a day — work, store, soccer practice, etc. — all of those miles are counted up. Then a fee is calculated for the development, with the funds going to subsidize items such as vanpools, mass transit passes, and bike lanes.

VMT is the implementation plan for Senate Bill 743, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in 2013. VMT’s backers say it will be an effective tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

You rad that right—it has been a law since 2013—and now it take effect on July 15.  Buy a house, new construction and along with property taxes you will be paying a special gas tax—every time you go to work, to the grocery store or visit family.  Plus, to assess it, the government will need to know how miles you drove—I suspect they will also want to get the location of each stop. 

I bet almost no media in the State reports on this new tax—a latent disease from the Brown/Newsom Administration.

VMT Opponents Say Plan Is Tax on Car-Driving Commuters

Jim Jakobs, GVWire,  6/29/20 

A coalition of 30 business and industry associations have asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to delay a controversial plan affecting new development for one year.

Among the groups: the Southern California Leadership Council, LA County Economic Development Corp., California Business Roundtable, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and California Building Industry Association.

The Building Industry Association of Southern California produced a YouTube video (below) and sent it to Newsom. A source tells GV Wire℠ the governor’s office received the video and called the California Building Industry Association. It’s not known what was discussed.

The SoCal BIA video says that VMT, in effect, will be a tax on new home buyers who commute in cars.

VMT Takes Effect on Wednesday

The groups are concerned about the Vehicle Miles Traveled plan scheduled to take effect Wednesday. That’s when housing construction projects will no longer be assessed a fee by how much traffic congestion they are expected to generate.

Instead, a VMT calculation will be applied. For instance, if a person drives to multiple places a day — work, store, soccer practice, etc. — all of those miles are counted up. Then a fee is calculated for the development, with the funds going to subsidize items such as vanpools, mass transit passes, and bike lanes.

VMT is the implementation plan for Senate Bill 743, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in 2013. VMT’s backers say it will be an effective tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Projects Economically, Technically Infeasible: Opponents

“New VMT mandates will predictably render many housing projects economically and technically infeasible. The looming VMT mandate is all the more concerning now that economic survival and recovery are at stake,” the letter to the governor states.

“We are concerned that the new VMT requirements will add significant cost, complexity, and liability to construction projects. It is foreseeable that much-needed housing and roadway projects will be the most impacted.”

An official with the Building Industry Association of Fresno-Madera Counties has estimated that the VMT fees for a 20-unit project in Clovis would be $460,000 over 30 years — or $23,000 a unit. And, while the developer bears the costs upfront, it is passed on to homebuyers and renters.

“New VMT mandates will predictably render many housing projects economically and technically infeasible.” — 30 business and industry associations, in a letter to Gov. Gavin  Newsom

Pandemic Problems

With the Wednesday deadline bearing down, many local governments are still trying to wrap their arms around the plan’s implications.

The coalition addresses those concerns in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The implementation process has been complicated both by the pandemic and the fact that the State’s guidance appropriately avoids being so prescriptive as to make implementation uniform and easy,” the letter states.

“While many local governments are currently closed in order to practice social distancing, the shift to VMT does not require an action on the part of the jurisdiction to formally adopt VMT.” — Kate Gordon, director, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

Keeping Home Ownership Dream Alive

The coalition argues another regulation on the housing industry will further put the dream of homeownership out of reach for many because homes simply won’t be built.

Related Story: Fresno City Council Adopts VMT Plan Despite Unknown Costs, Impacts

“Additionally, industry analyses indicate that the new VMT mandates will increase the cost of all housing types (including infill); and cost impacts will be particularly acute for suburban, new town and greenfield projects, which historically have been our state’s most affordable housing types,” the coalition said.

“We appreciate your commitment to keeping the California Dream of homeownership alive. In the best of times, keeping and fulfilling such a commitment is a huge challenge. Regrettably, we find ourselves today in what is, in many respects, the worst of times.”

Governor’s Office of Planning & Research

GV Wire℠ has reached out to the governor’s press office multiple times for comment on VMT but has yet to receive a response.

However, on April 20, GV Wire℠ heard from Kate Gordon, director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

“There has been no change to the deadlines contained within CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), including the SB 743 (VMT) implementation deadline,” wrote Gordon in an email. “Regarding the impact of COVID-10 and social distancing on this deadline: While many local governments are currently closed in order to practice social distancing, the shift to VMT does not require an action on the part of the jurisdiction to formally adopt VMT.”

Here is the coalition’s letter.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Rico Lagattuta says

    The VMT is the best vehicle to force people back to the Urban (cities) area .

  2. Cars Are Basic, Inc. pointed out the pit falls of this change in CEQA a decade ago.

    One of the first investigations was to see what other nations had put in place this policy. The outcomes was and is people refused to give up auto use. CAB then looked at San Francisco and its very heavy handed application of this before CEQA was changed. The outcomes today are devastating both to business and freedom of movement so cherished nation wide.

    VMT is dictatorship. CEQA was put in place by the Democrat majority to stop development spread. It failed. When Sacramento was faced with its failure, and did a 180 degree change to high density “Stack’m & Pack’m,” it ignored human nature. As Luddite philosophy failed so has Governor’s Brown and Newsom planning.

    To work the failing VMT has to convince people buses and trains are good. Before the pandemic Bus service State Wide was in free fall. Train use in L.A. based upon miles of track has failed to attract ridership. Auto use in every Urban location in Calif. has gone up.

    Now faced with an aggressive Central Planning in Sacramento people are leaving the State. Think about it, people refused environmental CEQA changes. People refused to walk, bike, and bus for transportation.

    Want freedom of choice in transportation and help in opposing this contact CarsAreBasic.org

  3. Again, perfect example of political lies and theft. That like all other large funding projects (bullet train) will never be used for what it’s supposed to be and it’ll be just another cash cow and never accountable.

  4. William Hicks says

    Where is California’s version of President Trump that will reverse the job killing laws and regulations done by leftist politicians?

    • There are only two things that Californians can do, either leave, or take back the state by force. One way would be for all registered Republicans in California to refuse to pay fees which are taxes, and taxes on top of taxes.

      We know voting in the state doesn’t work, just recently there were 100,000 votes found that were not counted because they said the signature didn’t match and some signatures “touched the line”. If we had voter ID that wouldn’t happen.

      People in California who believe in the constitution and freedom are not represented, so they should not be taxed in the state. If all patriots in California would get together and do this I think it would work. Just look at Antifa, Black Lives Matter and public employees unions – they are only a small percentage but they have complete control of Gavin Newsom, Xavier Becerra and every single democrat politician in the state.

      There are approximately 40million people in California and yet only about 1 million of the 40 million are represented politically.

  5. Bogiewheel says

    This is a sneaky way to get around prop 13.

  6. TheGhostofBelleStarr says

    Poorly written article, hard to understand how this is implemented, how travel mileage is tracked etc. SMH

  7. Assuming that is a legitimate goal. Many outside the urban areas would take strong exception to that.

  8. Richard Wahl says

    It should not be hard for Sacramento to collect mileage. Records of new home sales and/or pulled permits for new home construction could be collected by the state. Then the legislators can easily change rules and require all owners of new homes to do annual smog testing. Smog stations would then send mileage records to Sacramento. Then tax the daylights out of the new home owners. Simple. And the left just cannot figure out why the middle class went away.

  9. Stop the Scams says

    It’s just another scam on taxpayers.

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